About the Department

History and Organization

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Bradley contains two separate but related disciplines, each offering a major and minor. Philosophy courses at Bradley can be traced back to 1929 when they were offered through the Department of Philosophy and Psychology. Philosophy became a separate department in 1950, and the study of philosophy was instituted as a major in 1956. Courses in religion first appeared in the Bradley curriculum in 1947. In 1958 the University established a major in religion. The Department of Religion became the Department of Religious Studies in 1969. In 1982 the separate departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies were merged into a single unit, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

The faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies consists of seven full-time faculty, three in Philosophy and four in Religious Studies. All members of the full-time faculty have PhDs. The Department also employs adjuncts (at least one for each discipline), who teach the 100 level general education courses in each discipline. The Department is served by a full-time (during the school year) administrative assistant.

Department Mission and Values

The mission of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is:

  1. To provide a broad range of classes in philosophy and religious studies that will properly educate our majors and minors in the two fields.
  2. To support the general education curriculum of the university through courses deriving from the two departmental disciplines as well as Western Civilization.

Undergirding this mission is a set of core commitments:

  • We affirm the intrinsic and inestimable worth and dignity of the individual and the human quest for knowledge and wisdom as ends in themselves.
  • We maintain that learning is essential for:
    • the development of meaning and identity,
    • the development of moral values and the ethical interaction of
    • individuals and groups,
    • the creation of a just society
    • the realization of individual human potential,
    • the spiritual, cultural, material, economic, and political improvement of society,
    • and establishment of a sustainable relationship between humans and the natural environment.
  • We uphold the centrality of texts as fonts of human knowledge and wisdom and, therefore, the necessity to cultivate both within ourselves and in our students habits of careful reading, critical interpretation, open discussion and argumentation, and cogent writing.
  • We affirm the importance of learning other languages both for the sake of reading original texts and for the understanding of other cultures.
  • We hold that learning best takes place through a personal relationship forged between teacher and student.
  • We further maintain that learning requires conversation and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries.
  • We seek to create a healthy atmosphere of learning that fosters creativity, open-mindedness, empathy, disciplined analysis, and circumspection.
  • We aspire to establish a vibrant community of learning deriving from dedicated teaching that is animated by faculty scholarship and creative production.
  • As heirs to Mrs. Bradley’s establishment of our institution as a polytechnic school, we recognize and support the University’s traditional commitment to experiential and applied learning while at the same time insisting that this orientation must be ultimately grounded in values of the humanistic tradition.